Dancers sought for Tall Ships opening ceremony

Local dancers are being sought for the welcoming ceremony for the Tall Ships races in July, where 20 young people will be given the chance to perform in front of thousands.

A celebration of Shetland’s diverse culture, the official ceremony has been directed by McLellan Award winning playwright Jacqueline Clark and promises to set the scene for a weekend packed full of activities welcoming crew, participants and visitors to Lerwick.

Dancers aged between 10 and 17 can apply to take part in a specially choreographed piece by Matthew Lawrence and accompanied by a new Shetland fiddle tune composed by Lerwick-born musician Cathy Geldard.

Singer Erin Sandison, from Scalloway, will perform a specially-penned song from Aith musical director and composer Philip Taylor who is behind the musical score for the entire performance.

Three actors, who were born in Shetland and are now living on the mainland, will return to perform including Anthony Okill from Edinburgh, Jordanna O’Neil from Edinburgh and Max Thornton from London.

Local film group Maddrim Media will also showcase its Shetland’s culture footage on the big screen in front of a packed audience.

Ms Clark said: “It is an honour to be working alongside so many talented artists from Shetland. It was also very important to me to include young people in our team and not to make it essential that participants had to be skilled dancers.

“I hope lots of young people enter so that they have the chance not only to learn new skills, but also take part in one of the biggest performances of their lives.”

Interested dancers can ask at their local youth club or visit for more information. The deadline for applications is 5pm next Wednesday.

Meanwhile four of the Shetland Cruise in Company guest harbours – Scalloway, Cullivoe, Unst and Fair Isle – are stepping up a gear in preparation for this summer’s event, having secured funding from the Scottish Islands project.

Tall Ships project manager Fiona Dally said: “The Scottish Islands funding has been gratefully received by the Shetland ports, with the following amounts being granted: Scalloway £8,000; Fair Isle £4,000; Unst £4,000; Cullivoe £8,000.

“This funding initiative will provide great support for these small communities who are all organising their own unique events to welcome the ships this summer on an entirely voluntary basis.

“The Cruise in Company is a great opportunity for each guest harbour to welcome the sailors in their own particular style. The celebrations will include an incredible summer fire festival and Viking galley burning in Scalloway.

“Fair Isle is planning to re-enact their age-old tradition of bartering knitwear for goods onboard the passing Tall Ships and Cullivoe and Unst, well known for their traditional music, are playing to their strengths with a sensational musical line-up.”


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